If you are an avid traveler, you need to get caffeine in your system to bring that jolt of energy that will keep you going and exploring all day long. But the thing about making coffee while on the go is that you need an all-in-one solution that is portable, lightweight, and time-saving but gives the richest, smoothest flavor to satisfy your taste buds.
As a coffee lover, you must consider several things before purchasing a portable coffee maker. Are you most concerned with the flavor? Or do you prefer something simple and easy to prepare? How many people can you serve or brew coffee with? And most of all, will it fit in your backpack or luggage?
Whether you’re a coffee lover or need your morning fix, finding the best coffee maker for travel can make all the difference.
The kitchenware market offers a variety of brands and features, from pour-over to french press, single serving to bigger shots, manual to electric, etc.
To save you hours of research time, we made a list of the best coffee makers to keep you company while on the road.
Our Top Picks
Below is a summary of the top picks from our JanusCoffee.com team. To help you understand where each pick ranked, we have included “badges” next to each pick’s key findings. “Best Overall” is a combination of price and value. “Best Budget” is great for coffee lovers who want a top-quality product but are on a tighter budget. “High End” is for coffee lovers who just want the best, and price is no object.
Reviews of Each Pick
Here are our detailed product reviews. Our team of coffee experts has tested all the products reviewed in this roundup-review. Coffee lovers with 1,000s of hours testing and working with products to help you pick the best one for your specific situation.
AeroPress Coffee Maker
Compact, lightweight, and portable
Gives micro-filtered coffee
Makes 1 to 3 cups at a time
Makes Americano, espresso, and cold brew coffee
Brews right into the cup
Requires replacement of microfilters
Limited serving capacity
The AeroPress Go Travel coffee maker deserves a spot in your backpack for its great portability, compactness, and good results. This lightweight, travel-friendly brewing machine produces a delicious, full-flavored cup of joe.
It takes practice and even a few failed experiments to get the right cup that you would enjoy. Altogether, it is the top pick for those coffee lovers who prefer a hassle-free, simple, and portable coffee maker in their busy travel journey.
The highlight of this coffee machine is the use of special microfilters to keep the cup residue free. These microfilters enhance the quality of coffee and make the cleaning process super easy. The AeroPress comes with a supply of microfilters lasting up to one year.
While carrying a limited capacity of 1 to 3 cups at a time, the serving size is perfect for small groups of travelers. The entire brewing process takes a maximum of 2 to 5 minutes, including the boiling time duration. Another plus point? You can clean the device in just a few seconds.
Wacaco Minipresso GR Coffee Maker
Produces coffee with strong flavor and smooth texture
Smallest handheld machine
Fast and compact
No electricity and battery needed
Built-in cup and scoop
Innovative design with semi-automatic piston
No heating function
Cleaning is required after every brew
Check out the Wacaco Minipresso GR coffee maker if you are looking for the smallest handheld version of all portable coffee makers. This bullet-shaped model features a semi-automatic piston that creates 8 bars of pressure, manually brewing up to 100 ml of coffee in one go.
One thing that attracts users to this coffee maker is its sleek, modern-looking, lightweight design which weighs less than a pound. The coffee maker also has a built-in coffee cup and a scoop. All you need is your choice of grounds and access to boiled water, and you are good to go.
It infuses small quantities of water through the coffee grounds delivering a strong, rich flavor every time. It works well with freshly ground beans and is also compatible with common brewing pods, including Nespresso pods.
It may require extensive cleaning after a shot. Hence, it might not be the best choice for serving larger groups of people while on the road.
Espro P1 French Press
Easy operation and cleaning
Built-in coffee mug
Can store 15 ounces of coffee
Features double microfilter prevents grit
Insulated stainless steel prevents heat loss
Sometimes makes acidic coffee
A bit on the pricier side
This Espro P1 French Press is a real deal when it comes to making extra-ordinarily tasting french press while on the go. To speak of the design, it offers a double-walled stainless, insulated body that keeps the freshly made coffee for hours.
Unlike other traditional french presses, this produces significantly finer results thanks to its microfilter feature.
The patented double microfilter prevents your coffee from getting gritty or sludgy. However, if you are a slow sipper, the coffee can sometimes turn bitter after a while—a common aspect of all French press coffee.
The built-in coffee mug can store up to 15 ounces of coffee. The lid is leak-proof, so you don’t have to worry about spills while on rough terrain.
On the other hand, avoid using coarsely ground coffee grind rather than fine grind, as it can easily clog the filter mesh.
Coffee Gator Pour Over Coffee Maker
BPA-free and heat-resistant glass
Reusable stainless steel mesh filter
Touch down collar for better handling
Available in various sizes and colors
Best for pour-over, flash, and tea brewing
No need to repurchase filter papers
The glass carafe is a bit fragile
The Coffee Gator is the best pour-over coffee maker with a sturdy glass carafe and stainless steel mesh filter. The BPA- free, heat-resistant, double-walled, insulated glass holds the heat quite well. Plus, the touch-down collar keeps your hand cool and prevents burns while pouring hot coffee.
The model comes in multiple sizes and seven different color options. The Coffee Gator machine is available in three different sizes, precisely; 10.5, 14, and 27 ounces.
Coffee Gator has a stainless steel reusable filter that allows the freshly made brew to be saturated with all the natural flavored oils. It also gives you more control over your coffee’s taste.
A simple tweak in the type of grind, water temperature, heating duration, or pouring style can make a big change in the final result.
Coffee Gator also works well for preparing flash-brewed iced coffee. The flash brewing method combined with ice makes for a great taste in your iced coffee.
Staresso Portable Espresso Maker
Lightweight and compact design
Compatible with Nespresso pods
Brews hot or cold espresso with rich crema
Simple cleaning function
Produces milk froth via plunger
Pump sometimes gets stuck
Filter basket is rather small
If you are looking for a portable espresso machine to make a fresh cup of joe with a rich crema layer, you can’t go wrong with the Staresso espresso machine.
For its practical design and impressive brewing performance, it won the Red Dot award in 2016.
The ergonomic design of this espresso machine speaks for itself. The device comprises two sections – the brewing and serving sections. The brewing section includes four components: a filter basket, a water chamber, a lid, and a plunger. In contrast, the serving unit comes with a clear glass cup with marked volumes and a scoop.
The coffee filter basket builds up about 15 to 20 bar pressure as you press down on the plunger. The 20% extraction rate produces natural oil and flavor-rich espresso with crema. The water chamber can hold up to 100 ml of water.
However, the filter basket has a capacity for around 10g of ground coffee. This means that the coffee you make would be enough for only one person.
Keurig K-mini Coffee Maker
Auto shutoff feature
Intuitive control panel switch
Quiet running operation
Variety of colors available
Durability issues reported
Restricted to K-cups only
The Keurig K-mini coffee maker is for those who want simplicity and don’t want to mess around with the machine settings.
The K-mini model does not offer extra features like a removable water reservoir, temperature control, pod storage, or brewing control. But that serves the whole point of carrying a simple mini portable machine wherever you want.
In addition, the drip tray collects all the drips to prevent them from staining your counter or table. The energy-saving system automatically shuts off the system after 90 seconds—helping you save on the electricity bill.
The only downside to this product is the restriction to use only K-cups pods rather than ground coffee. You will not be able to use K-Carafe, K-mug, Vue, and Rivo pods.
Bodum Travel and Tea Coffee Press
Double-walled insulation keeps the coffee hot for long
Rubber seal filter keeps grounds from escaping
Silicone grip for handling
Come with a built-in plunger
Filter plunger doesn’t come apart for cleaning purposes
The Bodum Travel Press is a reliable coffee mug that keeps the coffee super hot, ideal for the winter season. The heat from the cup can provide warmth while you enjoy your travels. It comes with a silicon grip pad to avoid burning your hands.
You can take your coffee however you want, add cream or ice cubes, and you are good to go.
It also has a rubber seal filter plunger that ensures the grounds don’t escape and mix with the coffee. The plunger functions the same as the filter, which is convenient compared to traditional French presses.
The glass carafe, however, is fragile, unlike plastic or stainless steel carafes of French presses.
The failings of this coffee press model are understandable, given the low price of under 20$. You can’t find a coffee machine as cost-effective and convenient as this.
Buying Guide for the Best Coffee Maker for Travel
Pour-over coffee makers have a similar look and feel to drip coffee makers. Moreover, these tend to be the smallest portable out of all types. You have to place the grounds on top of the filter paper. Gradually pour small quantities of water through it.
With coffee presses, the coffee grounds get immersed in hot water for about 3 to 5 minutes. After that, the plunger pushes the ground downwards to separate it from the extracted coffee. It leaves a smooth and delicious coffee on top without any grit.
Espresso uses a small quantity of water gradually forced through the ground coffee, leaving behind the extract. They offer the best taste but tend to be a bit on the pricier side.
You don’t have to give up a large space for your coffee maker while on the road or camping. When you are traveling, the main differentiator that influences your purchase is the size or portability of the device. The simpler, more compact, and lightweight it is, the easier it is to pack when you have limited space available.
With the right-sized coffee maker, you won’t have to cram it in your bag or have it take up too much space in your RV’s kitchen.
Taste is always essential; it all depends on the coffee maker you choose. You can distinguish a drastic difference in the taste and texture of the coffee even if you use the same grounds, temperature, or extraction time.
A coffee press machine might be your top choice for people who like strong coffee. Espresso makers tend to give a richer and fuller experience by releasing natural oils and aroma into the brew.
Lastly, percolators or pour-overs deliver a lighter flavor-filled cup. Whichever coffee maker you choose, it might take you a few times to get the preferred taste for your taste buds.
If you are specific about how quickly you want your coffee to get ready, look for a coffee maker designed for instant brewing. One thing to note is that press coffee makers take a few minutes more than pour-over or espresso machines.
Still, you should expect a travel-friendly machine to get your coffee ready in under 5 minutes without compromising quality or taste.
Many portable coffee makers brew only a single serving at a time. A minute-long brewing time will save you time if you are in a hurry.
On the other hand, if you are traveling with a bunch of peers and you intend to make a larger batch of coffee, it is imperative to choose a machine that has a larger serving unit that can accommodate multiple cups in one go.
Some of the best portable coffee makers have multiple size options to choose from.
Ease of Cleaning
When trying to find the best portable travel coffee machine, one must consider the ease of the cleaning process. Choose a machine with simpler parts that are easier to separate and clean up.
This is essential as you won’t have enough time, space, or the proper facilities to clean a messier operation. The best travel coffee machines will also have dishwasher safety options.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it true that a more expensive coffee machine makes better coffee?
When choosing coffee makers, you often get what you pay for. Coffee makers can range from less than a hundred to a thousand dollars. However, some factors also contribute to what makes good coffee, such as the beans you use.
A more expensive coffee machine will likely brew a better cup of coffee than a less expensive model. This is because higher-end coffee machines have features that allow them to extract the flavor from the beans better.
They also tend to have better temperature control, which means your coffee will be less likely to be burnt or over-extracted. However, if you’re on a budget, there are still plenty of options that can brew a decent cup of joe.
How do you remove coffee stains from a stainless steel mug?
When it comes to cleaning coffee stains off stainless steel mugs, there are a few different options that you can choose from. One option is to use soap and water to clean the cup. If you’re using soap and water, make sure you use a non-abrasive soap to avoid scratching the mug. Alternatively, you can mix baking soda with vinegar to clean your mug.
Finally, you could also use a commercially available cleaner specifically designed for cleaning coffee stains off stainless steel mugs. Check the label and read it carefully to determine if it’s safe for use on stainless steel.
What should I consider in a travel coffee maker?
You have to tick some important boxes when choosing a travel coffee maker. First, you want a lightweight, portable coffee maker that is easy to take with you on your travels.
Second, choose a coffee maker that is not complicated. Moreover, if cleaning is an issue during travel, choose one that is easy to clean and maintain without hassle.
Third, what power source does the coffee maker use? Some models require batteries, while others can be plugged into an outlet. Lastly, consider any extra features you might want, such as a steamer or built-in grinder.
With these factors in mind, you should be able to find a travel coffee maker that suits your needs and gives you great-tasting coffee wherever you go.
Can a travel coffee maker last for a long time?
Assuming you take good care of your coffee maker, it should last several years. Since these coffee makers are small and portable, they become more susceptible to damage than larger home coffee makers. However, the lifespan of your coffee maker will depend on the materials used to make it and how often you use it.
Additionally, avoid using harsh cleaning products or scrubbing too vigorously, as this can damage the delicate components of the coffee maker.
However, the good news is that travel coffee makers are relatively inexpensive, so replacing one every few years shouldn’t break the bank.
Is there a better way to make coffee when on the go?
It can be challenging to make a good cup of joe while traveling. The first thing you must have is coffee beans or ground coffee. Next, you will need a heating source for your water or at least have access to some.
When it comes to coffee, there are two main ways to make it while traveling: using an immersion brewer or a pour-over. Both methods have pros and cons. Hence, it’s really up to the individual to decide which is best for them.
Immersion brewing, also known as the French press method, is great for making large batches of coffee at once. Pour-over brewing is much quicker than immersion brewing and doesn’t require fancy equipment.
Are travel coffee makers necessary on a road trip?
Road trips can take hours. If you are someone who cannot survive without a cup of coffee, then these portable coffee makers will surely come in handy. You can easily make your own when the need arises. There’s no need for stopovers or looking at Google maps for the nearest coffee shop.
With a portable coffee maker, you have full control of your coffee. Moreover, it will save you some bucks on your travels. Instead of buying a cup each time, you can use the money on something else.
Wrapping it Up
There you have it—our top seven picks for the best coffee makers for travel. We hope this article has helped you narrow your choices and find the perfect coffee maker for your next trip.
Whether you’re looking for something compact and lightweight, or something that can make large batches of coffee at a time, we hope one of these options is the perfect fit for your needs.
No matter which coffee maker you choose as a companion, we’re sure you’ll enjoy freshly-brewed coffee any time of day. Next time you plan your trip, bring one of these handy machines with you and get your caffeine fix even when you are miles away from your favorite cafe!